A POSTSCRIPT 339 accordion ceased, and only the night sounds of the woods, the sharp cry of a bittern, the distant screech of an owl, the croaking of frogs in the bog near by, and the chirping of grasshoppers accompanied the rhythmic sounds of the low, pensive voice. The amazing story this man told was so thrilling that I tried to get it down as fully as I possibly could. I filled the exercise book, found another on the shelf and filled that, and failed to notice that the sky, visible in the narrow doorway of the dugout, had paled. Alexei Meresyev had brought his story up to the day when, after shooting down three planes of the Richthofen Division, he felt that he had become again a fully fit airman equal to the rest. "While we've been chatting the night's slipped by, and I have to go up first thing in the morning," he remarked, interrupting his story. "I must have wearied you. Let's get some sleep." "But what about Olya? What was her answer?" I asked, and then checked myself and said: "I'm sorry! Perhaps that's an awkward question. Don't answer it if it is...." "Why?" he said, laughing. "We were cranks, both of us. It turned out that she knew all about it. My chum, Andrei Degtyarenko, wrote her at oncefirst about my crash, and then that my feet had been amputated. But she, seeing that I was keeping this from her, decided that it was hard for me to tell her about it and pretended not to know anything. We were deceiving each other, heaven knows why! Would you like to have a look at her?" He turned the wick up and carried the lamp to the photographs in the neat plexiglass frames hanging on the wall over the head of his bunk. One, an amateur pho- tograph, almost completely faded and worn, barely showed the features of a smiling, carefree girl, sitting among the flowers in a meadow. The other showed the same girl in the uniform of a junior lieutenant-technician, with a stern, thin, clever face and a concentrated expression in her eyes. She was so small that in her uniform she looked a pretty boy, but this boy had tired and unboyish, pene- trating eyes. "Do you like her?" "Very," I answered in all sincerity.